Once we crossed Exceat Bridge, we walked down the west bank of the Cuckmere River and back to the coast. At the mouth of the river we passed the Coastguard Cottages. In a field just behind them stands a lonely memorial. It remembers an unknown number of Canadian soldiers who died here in 1940. The Canadians had arrived in the Cuckmere Valley and pitched their tents in this field. Although they were warned by locals that the Germans flew over frequently, using the valley for navigation purposes, they ignored these warnings. The Messerschmitts came two days later. They flew up the valley, sptted the encampment, and so banked hard and flew back down again, raking the tents with fire and dropping their bombs. All of the men billeted in the tents were killed. The commanding officer who had ignored the warnings of the locals was shaving in one of the cottages. He was killed instantly when a shell went through the wall on which his mirror was fixed.
We carried on, reaching Hope Gap. Like the Seven Sisters, Hope Gap is a valley which was formed in the last ice age. Its steep banks have been sheared by coastal erosion, leaving a dramatic edge to them.
At Hope Gap it is possible to go down a set of steps onto the chalk platform and rocks below. From here there is a good view back to the Seven Sisters (not all of them are quite in view). The brown coloured substance at the top of the small cliff in the foreground is loess, soil which was blown here by the Arctic winds of the ice ages.
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Exceat Bridge: N 50° 46.424 E 000° 08.770
- Cuckmere Valley Memorial: N 50° 45.565 E 000° 08.667
- Hope Gap: N 50° 45.385 E 000° 08.340
Walk #48 Statistics (of which this post forms the fifth part):
- Date of Walk: 1 April 2013
- Walk #48 total distance covered: 7.82 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 390.67 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!